Monday, December 10, 2007

Your Sickness is a Sin to the Narcissist

Judging by the comments on the last post there was a lot of resonance on the subject of medical neglect by narcissist parents. The other extreme was brought up there too; that of the narcissist parent seeming to relish a child's illnesses and needs for medical attention because the parent has found a way to capitalize on the attention they can derive from these situations. In both cases, as opposite as they appear on the surface, they are just flip sides to the same coin. It is all about whether or not the narcissist is getting the attention they feel they must have to live.

I have taken note that my mother was not unique in her views and behaviors toward sickness. I have heard others describe how sickness was treated like a moral failing by their narcissist parent. My mother fully transitioned into this view about the time I was becoming a teen. Because she would feel inconvenienced if anyone became sick in the household she started to issue threats. They went like this:

It would be a sunny but cool day and I would be heading outside or to school. "Where's your coat?" "I don't need a coat; it's nice outside." I would say. "Alright, fine. You can choose." She would assume her haughty/stern look which included her set jaw and raised eyebrows. "But if you get sick, I promise you...you will get a spanking." Because she was excellent at follow-through on threats of spankings this was an effective threat. She pretends that I get to choose whether or not to wear a coat even while setting up a false choice between two options for me. Wear a coat and stay well and avoid a spanking. Eschew a coat, risk getting sick and punished.

As I became a little older I recognized the choices were false. There was another option my mother didn't care to include...that I could choose to not wear a coat, and I most likely I would not get sick.

When I became a teen spankings were no longer threatened. Vague promises of being in trouble were then issued. I was a teenager and still there were times when mommy dearest thought I should wear a coat. "You need to get a coat." "No, really, I'm fine. It's nice out." Same stern look..."Okay, your choice. But if you get sick you will be in trouble." I remember I got to the point of shrugging off her threats to her face. "Fine. I'm willing to take that risk." Now that I think about it, it could be why she stopped this stupid threat before I was old enough to leave home. She saw that it had lost its effectiveness with me.

Even though the overt threats were no longer made, there was trouble if I got sick. I have two very clear memories of getting sick after I had become an adult. Once was when I was living in my parent's home after my first divorce. The second time was after I was back out on my own. I told the story of my getting attacked verbally by my mother while battling a 104 F degree fever and a kidney infection in this post.

I was around 22 years old. My daughter was a baby of almost two years. I was working full time and trying to save the money to move out into my own apartment. I lived at my parent's home for a year after my first divorce. This happened when I was close to the end of that year.

At the time I was working for a doctor whom I know now was a malignant narcissist. Quite possibly a sociopath. He is a WHOLE other story. I was gratified to find out about five years after I left his employ that the feds caught up with him and he'd been convicted of various crimes which includes fraud and racketeering and lost his license to practice. Oh, yeah, he was a humdinger.

Work required me to take a course in word processing which was just starting to come into business offices at that time. I had to drive to a large metro area over an hour away to take this day-long course. No biggie. Except that this particular day I was coming down with something. I was already in the class when I noticed that I wasn't feeling well. I was flushed at first. Then started getting chills. I had a fever. I brain was turning to mush. My eyes burned and I could barely hold my head up. My head throbbed, my lungs hurt. I somehow muddled through to the end, got in my car and drove the hour and half back to my parent's home. By the time I got home I was really messed up. Turned out I had a splendid case of flu and bronchitis.

The year that I lived at my parent's home I slept on the floor in the living room. When I got home this particular day I grabbed some blankets and made a pallet on the floor in the "den" (which was my former bedroom) so I could have a little quiet and privacy as I tried to cope with this flu bug. Yes, there was a bed in that room still, but I didn't want to mess it up because I couldn't make it look like my mother wanted it to look when it came time to straighten it. She would get very pissy if things weren't just so. Beds in her home are made for looking at during the day. Once a bed was made there was no sitting on it even. It was easier just to sleep on the floor. It was late afternoon and there was still a lot of noise and activity in the house which is why I didn't try to sleep in the living room. For this period of time, my mother was babysitting my daughter during the day. No, she didn't do it for free. I paid her the going rate. She was still running daycare out of her home, so it wasn't some huge favor she was doing for me by watching my daughter during the day. It was a business arrangement. I bring this up to stress the reality that I was not using my mother to take care of my child while I worked. She ran a daycare. I was one of her customers.

When my daughter's dinner time rolled around it was time for mother to dish out her extreme displeasure. I was not in the habit of dumping the care of my child onto my mother. When I came home from work I took over all the care and feeding of my child. I wasn't a mooch. I didn't neglect my child because I had a mother around. She was in it for the money. Once I got home from work she was no longer interested in dealing with my child. Which was fine. I was the mother and I expected to care for my child when I was home. If you've read any of my posts on my life you know I was not a slacker and I certainly didn't mooch off my parents. I was living in their home for this year at their invitation. Obviously, my pallet on the floor was evidence of the fact that they wanted the invitation to expire sooner rather than later. I was working as hard as I could to make that happen as quickly as I could.

But on this day, I didn't take over the care and feeding of my child. I was collapsed on the floor in a fever. It was a total anomaly for me to expect my mother to help me with my daughter after work. A normal parent would know that something was seriously amiss for my behavior to diverge so sharply from its usual course. My heartless mother was not normal.

She burst into the room I was in, stepped over my feet so she could look at my face, and then demanded to know when I was going to take care of my daughter. I looked up at her hard, unyielding face and felt a special kind of desperation. I remember feeling so helpless. Once a fever reaches 103F I'm really f---ed up. I don't know about anyone else, but I can't function when I'm in the throes of the flu. And, as was usual, it was heading straight for my lungs. I couldn't take a deep breath for the pain and burning. The last thing my baby needed was for her mother to breathe her nasty germs at her.

"Mommy, I'm so sick. Could you please, this one time, feed N? I promise I won't ask you to again. I just don't think I can get up right now." The look of disgust and anger on her face was total. I felt like a complete loser. I felt inadequate. I felt like I was so very alone. Just remembering it now makes me tear up. It was a moment of quiet desperation and abandonment. Damn me all to hell for inconveniencing her. I was a total failure at that moment. I was a sinner. She huffed angrily out of the room and made sure I knew she was only helping me this one time and that she was doing me a HUGE favor. After that, "she is your daughter; you take care of her." Uh, yeah. I knew whose daughter she was. I was a responsible mother who did not slack off in her care. But ONE TIME...just ONE TIME...I needed some extra help and I'm condemned for it. Maybe I should have offered to pay the bitch since that is the only way she would be motivated to "help" me with my daughter. A loving grandmother? Never. Not once. I hate her more for how she viewed and treated my child than for how she treated me. Grasping, selfish, horrid, hateful bitch.

As my mother's narcissism has fully blossomed over the years, she became more and more hardened in her view of family members' sickness being a moral failing. It is always our fault. She will find some reason to pinpoint as to why we are deservedly sick. Why we brought it on ourselves. Why she is justified in neglecting us, judging us, abusing us for getting sick. Why we deserve not a shred of sympathy or kindness from her. Why her total abandonment of us in our illness is justified and righteous. Some of the reasons she has given as to why other family members have fallen ill are:

He eats his food too fast so he isn't getting proper nutrition from his food.

She doesn't get enough sleep.

He smokes.

She doesn't take vitamins.

He doesn't eat right...so when he has a heart attack and dies I am going to be very angry with him.

Then there is injury. There is rarely a time my mother can't find the reason why you deserved to be injured. There are no mishaps or mistakes where you are concerned. No, only your own stupid choices which brought you to this place.

In addition to the sin of being ill, it was a sin to pamper the body in other ways. It was a sin to sleep in. It was a sin to rest quietly while trying to deal with a migraine. It was a sin to rest simply when tired if the work wasn't done. It was a sin to take in recreation if you hadn't worked yourself to a nub first or gotten her permission to do so. It is a sin to not be constantly working. So many sins. So little mercy. I spent the last four weeks of my pregnancy with my daughter in my mother's home. My doctor was in the same town as my mother lived in. I had lived in this town for many years, but my husband's job required us to move a state away about half way through my pregnancy. My mother invited me to stay with her for the last part of my pregnancy so I wouldn't have to change docs. Being very, very pregnant did not cut down on the work load. You stay in my mother's home and you are put to work. I expected nothing else. The day I went into labor I could be found a few hours earlier on my hands and knees scrubbing all my mother's floors and doing other housework. Being extremely pregnant is no excuse for slacking!

Mother dearest can always find a reason as to why you deserve what you got. Whether you are sick or injured. And since you brought this calamity upon your own head you are not worthy of her attention.

Which is the real issue, once again. Attention. When Mr. Farmer is raising a cow for the dinner table he doesn't make a pet out of it. Obviously, to minimize the level of sympathy he must not befriend the beast he plans to make a meal of. I'm not condemning the farmer for this. I'm simply using him to illustrate an obvious point. That when we want to make a meal of someone we can not allow their feelings or ours to get in the way. The narcissist must not allow themselves to feel anything for you because it would get in the way of them making a meal out of you.

For the medically neglectful narcissist parent the attention that a sick person should get is a mighty inconvenience to them. They covet every shred of kind human regard and attention at all times. Your sickness, in a kind world, means that the others in the household divert more of their energies and concern toward you because they want to help you get well as quickly as possible because they have empathy. They know how it is to be sick. They know how helpless the sick are to care for themselves, let another others. But the narcissist will not spare even a little attention for you even when you're sick. So they must find the reason why you deserve your sickness...so they can be exempted from feeling like they should give you some of their precious commodity...attention and kind regard. They are so covetous for attention that they can't even spare any for you when you are injured or ill.

It is evil to be this selfish. It is evil to be this determinedly shut off from basic humanity. What could possibly be the point of keeping these blood-suckers in our lives? They take until there is nothing left to take and then revile you for falling short of their demands. They will kick your corpse for daring to die on them.

We have limitations because we are finite beings. Life is too short and too precious to keep these predatory animals in our families. They don't deserve to be called family. They eat family for dinner without compunction. The sooner you face this reality the sooner you can free yourself of this murderously selfish and predatory beast. Your life blood is yours, not theirs for the taking. Refusing to continue to feed these Xenomorphs** is not only smart but righteous.

**Xenomorph is a reference to the "Aliens" franchise of movies. Which seems like an appropriate metaphor for destructively parasitic life forms that malignant narcissists are. Go, Ellen Ripley.


UPDATE: I was remembering one of my favorite lines of Ripley in "Aliens". Ripley is protecting the small girl, "Newt", from the huge egg-laying queen alien xenomorph. She's outfitted herself with a weapon (forklift power loader) and sez:

"Get away from her, you bitch."

Oh, yeah. I love the way she spits that line out with such determination and righteous rage. That line sums up my attitude toward my mother. I stand between her and my precious family members. My weapon: truth. Have I mentioned that I love these movies? Uh, huh. Ripley is my gal.

26 comments:

kroseloree said...

For the moment....(I, again, find this post very painful....) will just say that I can totally relate to the 'sleeping on the floor', being pregnant and housekeeping, (when the invitation to stay there was in the guise of 'helping me'), NEVER being able to leave my children with her when we stayed for a while during a divorce. I was supposed to be interviewing for jobs...getting a job that fit hours that she didn't have to look after them. Not even 'overlap' time.....yet, pushed to 'get on my feet' and pulling the rug out from under me when I did. I finally lied about what I was making....'winged' it....and it worked out on my own. I swear she got more work out of me when I was there....no rest for me....taking care of the house, the cooking, my three kids, laundry, etc. than ever before. It was awful...and until just recently, I felt so horrible that I was such a burden...and so 'disruptive' during those times. I am looking at this all again in a new light.

Anna....there is so much pain and hurt from all these years....the insanity of the repeated cycles....her selfishness...her demand that I 'understand' her lack of participation in anything that required effort or sacrifice or attention. I have beat myself up unmercifully for my 'thoughtlessness', my 'selfishness', my 'irresponsibility',....all the things SHE is. Now, I feel horrible that I was so 'in thrall' to her demands....for so many years. I seem to be in a place that only 'holds ground'....like 'jumping in place' all this time. I'm good at a little of everything....and a master of nothing. Wait a minute! That isn't true. I was/am a GoodMother....of that, I am SURE.

I don't think I will ever be a 'success story'....I'm too old and the damage is too great....but I KNOW beyond a shadow of a doubt, I AM NOT LIKE HER...AND I NEVER WILL BE LIKE HER! Only an ACON can know that to come to that realization...that certitude...is no small thing.

Susan said...

"For the medically neglectful narcissist parent the attention that a sick person should get is a mighty inconvenience to them."

That suddenly reminded me of how my stepfather had a quadruple bypass early last year. My mother hardly went to see him in the hospital, as she was busy throwing a big bridge party, attending Garden Club, going shopping, and having dinner with friends. My stepfather was released from the hospital on a Friday morning, but he had to wait until afternoon for my mother to pick him up, as she had another bridge game to attend.

Anyway, the following morning we went to visit. As I walked in the house, my mother pulled me to one side and started griping about how "whiny and demanding" my stepfather had been ever since he got home. She confessed that she had finally "blown up" at him that morning, when she couldn't take it any more. (She "blows up" a lot.) He had been home less than 24 hours at the time!

A few minutes later, I saw the large-print crossword puzzle by my mother's bedside, which I had bought for my stepfather that week. She had taken it from the hospital to use herself. "Oh, you have dad's crossword," I said pointedly. She started saying how much she loved to do crosswords before bedtime, as they help her relax, "and besides," she added maliciously, "he's too stupid to do a crossword!" When she saw the horrified look on my face, she quickly changed the subject.

Of course, earlier this year, when the doctor told her that SHE might have to have heart surgery, she immediately ordered me to "move in" with her to take care of her for a few weeks after the surgery. Later, I told her that it bothered me that she dictates orders to me like that, and she angrily told me she HAS to dictate to me, otherwise I wouldn't do anything!

When she's not well, she expects everyone's compassion and solicitude...yet she has no sympathy for anyone else. And yes, the phrase "you brought it on yourself!" is eerily familiar to me! (Usually it's coupled with, "You have only yourself to blame!")

Thanks again for painting such accurate pictures of a narcissistic parent. (Did they all read the same handbook or something?)

Anna Valerious said...

Susan,

My dear uncle had double bypass surgery on Oct. 19, so I'm acutely aware of how seriously disabled a bypass patient is after they get home. They aren't supposed to lift more than 10 lbs. for weeks. Getting up out of a chair requires help for a few days. They aren't supposed to raise their arms over their heads...so they really need some help with dressing themselves. Their appetites are small...their stamina is low. They need help keeping track of their meds. They need help. I feel very badly for your stepdad. Your mother is vile and disgusting in her studied ignoring of his needs.

As you mentioned, the rulebook changes when the N is ill, injured or post-surgical. They deserve the king's treatment. I sure as hell hope you don't consent to moving in to help your mother should she need heart surgery. Not. Your. Job.

You said, "Did they all read the same handbook or something?"

No, it takes no special training to act five years old. They are cases of arrested development. Malicious, conniving and utterly self-centered five year olds in adult bodies with adult privileges. Which makes them positively dangerous.

Anonymous said...

Laryngitis, a headache, stiff neck, unable to swallow, fever, passing out for hours at a time? Sick, no. Lazy, yes! Why would any mother of a toddler just lay around like that when she should be taking care of her child and waiting on the N? Boy, oh boy, that husband will get a piece of her mind about the lazy woman he married.

Been there, done that.

Anna Valerious said...

Kroseloree,

Thanks for your comment.

I'm not sure how you define success, but I hope you see that being a GoodMother is a form of success that is highly laudable and will ripple down through generations to come. Ever walk through a cemetery and read tombstones? I do. I don't see inscriptions about how John Doe was a highly successful businessman. Or how many glass ceilings Ms. Doe broke through. The living inscribe words like these, "A loving mother and wife", "Most loving mother", "She is adored and loved by her children". Judging by what people memorialize on granite...it seems the most lasting success as far as many families are concerned is a loving mother (or father). You get to the end of your life and no one will say on your tombstone, "good at a little of everything, master of nothing" It simply ain't gonna say that! Your children will remember with tears and laughter the love and energy you poured into their lives and they will memorialize it forever; in their hearts, their children's hearts, on granite. Don't define success the way the N does. Or even how the world does. Look into your children's eyes and see your legacy of love. Know that to be success. Especially since you had to rise above the abysmal example of motherhood that your mother gave.

Indeed, it is no small thing to know absolutely that you are not like your mother. It is a proclamation of victory. Like a warrior who has seen many battles...he may be bruised, scarred, even crippled, but he is victorious. Don't confuse your scars with defeat. The scars are only proof of past battles. The fact that you're living and loving is proof that you came out the other side a victor. Battle-worn but not conquered. That, too, is success. It is the kind of success that requires courage and endurance. The kind of success that legends are made of. Please don't underestimate your success.

~Karen~ said...

This reminds me of the TERROR my brother and I felt whenever we had our 6 month appointment at the dentist (Since we were little children)... oh, heaven forbid we had a cavity! I will never forget how much my poor brother cried when one visit he had 3 (he was around 8 years old) cavities! We were always punished with anger and then silent treatment by my Dad. I have learned it is IMPOSSIBLE to please him. Even if we didn't have any cavities we were not praised... A N. can never do anything but put everyone down... Also, every time we went to the dentist I was told I needed braces... and each time the dentist insisted that I did my Dad made us change dentists. My Dad always had the same dentist (looking back he was probably a really good dentist and my Dad spent THOUSANDS on HIS teeth), but we changed dentists
yearly. We always went to ones that had 70s style chairs... brown and orange...Really low-end dentists! All this is fresh in my mind because now I am 26, have been married for two years and last week for the first time in 3 years I went to the dentist... I still dreaded going and had the same fear of having a cavity! Didn't have any, amazingly, but the dentist said, "You really need braces!" And he gave me referral to an orthodontist... All these years later, and yes, I need braces... We found out 3 years ago (right before my wedding) what my Dad was all the years growing up: a lying, cheating, me first, perfect narcissist. My Dad made over $100,000 a year... And spent pretty much all of it on himself... There are so many times I find myself doing something by habit and then thinking, "I do that because of my DAD!" (I never drink milk because the Milk was my DAD'S and you would GET IT if you touched it! There are so many things I have to un-learn... I haven't even discovered all of them yet.)~ Thanks for sharing your story... so sorry you had to have such a mother... My Dad is still alive, I haven't seen him in a year, and guess what? He never thinks of me. Surprise, surprise, he can't use me any more, so there is no need for me in his life any more! ~Karen~

So, what IS in a heart? said...

"Later, I told her that it bothered me that she dictates orders to me like that, and she angrily told me she HAS to dictate to me, otherwise I wouldn't do anything!"

That's an excuse, and I hope you told her to get bent!

Barbara said...

Now I KNOW great minds think alike. Your post had me thinking all day about how obnoxious my mother was when I was ill. She even told me I took too MANY vitamins when I was diagnosed as disabled. That's AFTER she told my STBex-NH to leave me because I was 'useless to' him now. Nice, huh?

Then I started thinking about my STBX NH. He is so ANGRY I am disabled. He now makes 6 times what I do and withholds money whenever he can. He is dragging out the court stuff so he can hold on to his money & continue to act like a 15 year old whenever he feels like it! Financial abuse abounds here. I am berated if I ask for $10 for food!

When I got sick it took me 6 months to get a correct diagnosis and man was he enraged. Shoved me out of bed a number of times. I had a gooseegg on my head from where it slammed into my nightstand. No support. No love. Name calling. He even tried to have me signed into a mental hospital. Once I did get a diagnosis, do you THINK he apologized? Don't answer, we know.

Now it seems every argument, like a typical N, he never stays on topic. And it all comes back to what a lazy, fat b*tch I am. I sleep 12-16 hours on Friday & Sat. nights sometimes. I am on pain killers I can only take when I know I can sleep. He HATES that. That makes me lazy. I can't walk well. That makes me lazy. I apportion out my housework and don't leap to help him when he decides on a whim to do something - so I am lazy. Vomitting and fever also make me lazy. And of course, a terrible mother.

On weekends when he is supposed to have the children, he will make plans to go out for hours at a time and just drop them with me. No notice. No announcement. Just ASSUMES I will be there since I am so lazy - I am probably in bed. My lawyer wants to make him PAY me for this time since he's been FIGHTING for his visitation. He's freaking.

Oh God forbid you be sick! And when my Nmother got older and before her death - it was a BATTLE for her to be SICKER THAN ME. BLECH.

STBX NH said to me the other day "You are ALWAYS too sick to do much of anything!" My response "I think that's the definition of DISABLED, dear". STOMPING FEET SOUND AS STBX NH rages back to his place.

BTW - EXCELLENT post and right on the money

Susan said...

Dear Anna,

Thank you for your response. I hope your uncle is doing better?

"I sure as hell hope you don't consent to moving in to help your mother should she need heart surgery."

Actually, this past summer I had invited my parents over for dinner one night (out of guilt/fear - long story). The night before the dinner, I couldn't sleep, because of anxiety (it's been getting a lot worse lately). In the morning, I called to confirm the engagement, and that's when she told me about the potential heart surgery, and started dictating her orders.

I remember I was so exhausted, that I just felt completely hopeless. I was too tired to struggle against her any more, and felt like I had absolutely no control over my future and time. My mother is wealthy and could easily hire help, but she calmly informed me that "outsiders never get it right...and besides, it's nice to have family around!" (translation: my services are free). She sensed my reluctance, and scolded me, "I shouldn't have to tell you what to do!"

They came over for dinner that night, and afterwards, my mother confronted me in the kitchen. She could tell I was "upset" by what she had said earlier, and wanted to know why. I evaded, but she kept pushing, so I finally told her I was willing to come over every day for a couple of hours or so to help her out, but I wouldn't "move in" or stay overnight.

Of course, that made her very angry, and she began berating me with guilt trips. She pointed out how her mother had "left her husband" to come to stay with my mother for a week when I was born, and that my mother would have done the same for me if I'd had children. (Comment: my brother and I both decided long ago that we would "break the cycle" in our family and not have kids. My brother eventually completely disappeared from the family, and I don't blame him. I envy him.)

Anyway, my mother stalked into the dining room and announced to my husband and stepfather, "I asked Sue to help me after my heart surgery, and she doesn't want to." I lost my temper and said loudly, "I SAID I'd come over every day!" She then stalked out, stepfather in tow. I felt a sudden sensation of relief, and my husband and I went out to play with our innocent puppies.

There was no contact for a few weeks, then I came home to a message from my stepbrother, saying that mom was home from the hospital, after having emergency heart surgery. It was very awkward, as we had house guests staying at the time. I called my stepfather, who only cried, "I'm so disappointed!" and hung up on me.

We ordered flowers for my mother that night, and I called her a couple of days later, and we "made up." I hated to do it, but at the same time the whole thing was very awkward, and I dreaded being condemned as a cold-hearted daughter and all that. The next day I came over and cleaned her house for her and waited on her a bit.

I never know what to do in these situations, and I literally am dreading the time when my stepfather dies (he's 84), because my mother will definitely put pressure on me to stop my life and be with her around the clock to ease her grief, and there will also be huge societal pressure to do so, and I'll look like the evil one if I don't run to comfort poor mommy for as long as she wants.

Most people realize she's a bit "difficult" and "likes to have her own way," but only the innermost circle of family knows what she's like "behind closed doors" - and none of them ever talk about it. My brother did, but he's disappeared.

I asked a friend the other day how my mother can get away with doing exactly as she pleases, and NOT doing boring things she doesn't feel like doing (like visiting old Aunt Delores, or attending my important events), and I can't. My friend said it's because my mother simply doesn't care what anyone thinks about her. (Plus, people are afraid of her, and they're hoping to inherit some money, so everyone's afraid to cross her.) In my case, I don't want people to think I'm a cold-hearted jerk, so I end up driving to see Aunt Delores, and I visit my mother when she has heart surgery. And I'm miserable!

So, Anna, to answer your question: my mother did have surgery and I didn't move in, but I *did* cave in. I guess I'm always afraid that the rest of the world will despise me as much as my mother seems to, if I don't make an effort to prove that I'm compassionate and kind, instead of "selfish, ungrateful and disloyal."

Sorry for going on again so long! You're nice to be so concerned about your uncle. I wasn't concerned about my mother's surgery, because I know she will never die! Only the good die young, right?

Susan

Anna Valerious said...

Wow, Susan, I'm so sorry about your situation. I'm mostly sorry that you care what others think...those bystanders who won't let themselves know who the real perp is and who the real victim is. The bystanders are tools in the hands of the Ns. Effective tools of torture if we care what they think. Sadly, they don't think. They blow with the wind. They chant memes and mantras and "common sense". They twist in the breezes of fickle public opinion. To be a slave of what they think is to be the slave of mental midgets and moral retards.

I hope you will continue to gain knowledge and strength so someday you can consign all the idiot bystanders along with your mother to the trash bin where they belong. People who would condemn you for taking control of your own life, and for leaving your mother to the comfort of her $$ while you take a hike, their opinion of you simply doesn't matter. I hope you can feel that as truth someday.

My uncle is recovering very nicely. Thanks for asking. I wouldn't have been concerned about your mother either. Or my mother, if that were the case. At their age and level of nastiness, they can use their precious money to buy them the care they need. Just because they pushed out of their vaginas doesn't mean they have earned the right to dictate that we become their personal servants and butt-wipers at their demand. Screw. That.

Naive No Longer said...

Gosh, kroseloree, when I read your comment, my heart broke.

Yes, the damage is profound, isn't it? It is beyond words and actually takes my breath away when the full import hits of what these beasts we call "mother" were capable of doing to our precious little beings.

I pray that you will be able to see the value of who you are just because you are who you are. Not who your mother tried to define you as, or what the world considers success. When our own inhumane mother doesn't seem to find any value in us, it becomes hard to see value in ourselves, doesn't it?

Yes, the damage is profound, but it is not insurmountable and you are not too old. My hope is that you will actually be able to treasure the gifts within you even though you may not yet believe that they are there yet.

And as Anna pointed out, the good mother you were/are is no small thing.

I sometimes wish that they could suffer one iota of the depth of the pain that they have caused. But Noooo, their pain only revolves around them not getting THEIR needs met. They are vile human beings.

So, what IS in a heart? said...

"My Dad is still alive, I haven't seen him in a year, and guess what? He never thinks of me. Surprise, surprise, he can't use me any more, so there is no need for me in his life any more!"

You're lucky. Many Ns aren't content to leave their kids/spouses/whoevers alone.

And Susan, I agree with Anna. In fact, since your mother doesn't care what others think, I'm sure she wouldn't mind if you told her to "get bent". Ehehehe. You deserve better than her, and hey, I doubt you'll get any money anyway, so I don't think you have much to lose either.

So, what IS in a heart? said...

"Plus, people are afraid of her, and they're hoping to inherit some money, so everyone's afraid to cross her."

One more thing, if it's any consolation, it's obvious that no one really cares about her. They just want the money. Since she doesn't care what others think, I'm sure she doesn't mind when people smile to her face(don't want to cross her, gotta have some of her money) and then talk behind her back. Or, when someone isn't impressed by her "heroism" or "kindness"(all to make her look good, of course,), she would just shrug and move on, right?

Also, how is it that your brother can escape entirely, but not you? I truly feel for those who are "trapped", especially those that have been in that situation for years.

Naive No Longer said...

Anna,

The below quote from the current blog so encapsulates the rest of what gets internalized within us by our narcissistic parents that I had to comment on it.

"In addition to the sin of being ill, it was a sin to pamper the body in other ways. It was a sin to sleep in. It was a sin to rest quietly while trying to deal with a migraine. It was a sin to rest simply when tired if the work wasn't done. It was a sin to take in recreation if you hadn't worked yourself to a nub first or gotten her permission to do so. It is a sin to not be constantly working. So many sins. So little mercy."

I could never understand why as a capable adult person I could feel sooo guilty all the time for those additional sins you mention.
WTF? I literally had to re-program myself that it was OK and not the end of the world if I "slept in", etc. It was like I had a continual whip lashing at my back. The whip of my evil mommy. Well that whip is no longer at my back. I have taken it and used it on her. And she is very verbal about the torture I am now putting her through because I refuse to be ANY sort of supply for her.

Perhaps another blog can elaborate on the very fact you illustrated. We are not entitled to take care of ourselves in any genuine way, according to what we have been indoctrinated with.

I'll never forget several years ago we were all at my parents vacation home during summer vacation. It was 10:00 in the morning and my 2 teenage boys were still sleeping away in the basement. I could see my dad (and actually, he isn't even the narcissist in the equation) getting more and more anxious. He was literally wringing his hands. "Are you going to let the 2 boys keep sleeping?" "Shouldn't you get them up?" "They should be up by now." "Don't you think?"

I looked him in the eye (unlike I could ever do with my N mother) and said, "Dad . . . it's OK . . . it's really OK. It's SUMMER VACATION and it's OK if they sleep in. It's their vacation.
I literally had to calm his anxiety level down.

This caused him to pause and think (unlike my mother is capable of doing). And he started to reflect. This is what he said:

"You know, when we were growing up, my dad would start yelling out in the house in a booming voice, early on a Saturday morning - GET UP!!!! GET OUT OF BED!!!! THERE ARE THINGS TO BE DONE!!! QUIT BEING LAZY!!! GETTTT UPPPPP!!!"

And then my dad looked at me bewildered and said, "Only there was never anything that had to be "done". (It wasn't like his dad would then make them do chores immediately or anything).

I could see that my questioning and calming his anxiety had caused him to reflect upon something that he had simply taken for granted from his own father but had just become apparent to him that it didn't really make any sense.

Fortunately, he is capable of this type of reflection and correction in his thinking. My mother on the other hand, is not. Unfortunately, even though he has a free-thinking mind of his own, he is not strong enough to not bow and cater to N mother, even when he knows better. It's sad . . .

Susan said...

"You deserve better than her, and hey, I doubt you'll get any money anyway, so I don't think you have much to lose either."

That's what my husband says: he predicts that my mother will give all her money to a "charming" stranger who kisses up to her in the last few years of her life. I think he's right! (My mother likes charming, outgoing people, not quiet introverts like me. Unfortunately, she falls for a lot of con artists because they schmooze her.)

Part of me feels that I've "earned" my inheritance, and it bothers me to just walk away from it completely, if I have any small hope of getting it. The other part of me feels that it's not worth the price I have to pay, and if I have to put up with her meanness for another 15 years, I'll be too downtrodden and destroyed by then to enjoy the money, anyway!

The last couple of years, my mother has been yelling at us, "After all we've done for you, you OWE us!" (My husband thought she was joking, the first time she said that - he said he'd never heard that outside of a bad movie!) They've begun giving cash gifts for Christmas, and they're paying for the step-grandkids' private school/college tuition and cars (though I had to earn my own college money, so I wouldn't be "spoiled"!). I was thinking that if she gave us money or something else expensive for Christmas I might return it this year. My mother gripes endlessly about how ungrateful all the family is after all she's done for them, but since I live close by, I'm the only one who is expected to repay her generosity by being at her beck and call.

"Also, how is it that your brother can escape entirely, but not you?"
I don't know...I keep waiting for her to do something "horrible" in front of witnesses, so I have an excuse to stay away (she saves the horrible stuff for when we're alone, and then she denies it later and says I'm imagining things!). Of course, my brother didn't have an excuse. On Christmas day, 1990, my mother asked him if he wanted soup for lunch. He looked at her and said, "You Bitch!" and packed his bag and left. The family has been very angry at him ever since for his "unreasonable" actions, and he couldn't really explain himself. I remember that day vividly; I remember how my mother leaned her head into her hand and sighed loudly, and resentfully asked my brother if he wanted soup, with that scary "edge" in her voice. I remember looking at her and thinking, "Oh no...she's getting mad!" and I was apprehensive. Once she started on that path, it was almost impossible to stop her. It was at that exact moment that my brother lost it and walked out; I think he knew her anger was about to destroy yet another family holiday, and he was done with it.

My mom, of course, got a lot of sympathy: "All I did was ask him if he wanted soup, and he called me a bitch, and walked out!" That made my brother look crazy, and my mother look like a victim. It was the truth - but it was completely ignoring the underlying issues of anger and domination.

So to this day I hear my family complaining about my black sheep brother, and how crazy he must be or messed up on drugs, and I know I'll get the same treatment if I follow in his footsteps. They don't seem to like me much anyway, so I guess it won't make much of a difference though, right? And in the mean time, my brother is peacefully living somewhere up in Ojai, oblivious to everyone's rantings and gnashings.

What exactly does "get bent" mean? (It doesn't sound pleasant!)

Anna, my ambition for this following year is to be in your position! You are smart to get away. My mother is turning 80, and seems to be expecting me to throw her an all-expense-paid blowout party in April. Either she'll be furious and disappointed if I don't, or I'll be consumed with resentment if I do. I'm counting on the fact that she can't last until then without "blowing up" at me about something, which will give me an excuse to avoid her. (By the way, she looks at least 20 years younger than she is, because she's had 3 facelifts, and dyes her hair blonde, and has a strong voice! She's very worried that the women in town will find out how old she actually is. Maybe I'll throw her a bash in the town square, and invite everyone to "Mom's 80th!" Heh.)

Ugh...sorry about the long reply again.
Susan

So, what IS in a heart? said...

"My mother likes charming, outgoing people, not quiet introverts like me. Unfortunately, she falls for a lot of con artists because they schmooze."

Bwhaahah...it's ironic, isn't it? Someone soooo skilled at manipulating is so easy to manipulate in kind. And if she doesn't like you or people like you, then I'm sure she wouldn't mind if you cut her off. "You don't even like me", and that sort of thing. Reminds me of the movie "This Boy's Life" where the plucky blond woman asked her husband, "Why do you even want me around? You don't even like me." And she left him while he cried "What about me?"

And yes, of course your mother would play the victim: "Everything I did, I did for them!" Which isn't true. Looks to me like she's trying to buy the stepkids' favor so she could use them in the "you owe me" way.

"They don't seem to like me much anyway, so I guess it won't make much of a difference though, right? "

Exactly.

"And in the mean time, my brother is peacefully living somewhere up in Ojai, oblivious to everyone's rantings and gnashings."

Heh. He probably doesn't even think of them that much, but they sure do think of him. Typical. Ann had a quote on that from the movie "Ever After."



"What exactly does "get bent" mean? (It doesn't sound pleasant!)"

It's just another way of saying "Go F---yourself." And no, it's not pleasant.

Naive No Longer said...

To Susan,

I don't know...I keep waiting for her to do something "horrible" in front of witnesses, so I have an excuse to stay away (she saves the horrible stuff for when we're alone, and then she denies it later and says I'm imagining things!).

As Anna has said in the past in her blog: Everything they do is deniable. That is why it is crazy-making. You will NEVER accumulate enough "objective" evidence to "justify" or "warrant" the necessity to make the god-awful decision of cutting off from hurtful parents. You will ultimately have to decide that enough is enough. The price is too high to stick around. And then make the decision even when EVERYTHING within you is screaming that you are a horrible person for doing it and question - is it really "that bad"??? THEY are the ones that minimize and discount and define their actions. Listen to your gut instead. I would bet it is telling you something very different.

Also, we always care "too much" about what they think of us and what they will say, and how it will look if we were to cut off without "good-enough" reason. Because everything they do is deniable to outsiders, you will never get that sort of validation. And, it will have to get to the point where you no longer care as much about their opinion (outsiders as well as your parents) and place precedence on your own opinion by letting yourself believe that it REALLY IS THAT BAD!!

I know for me, it took me years to wrestle with all of this. The longer I am away from them the more clearly I see, the more sane I feel and the more I am able to heal up.

I wish you the best in the midst of the insanity.

Anna Valerious said...

Kathy Krajco posted something relevant to this discussion with Susan yesterday.

Susan said...

"And if she doesn't like you or people like you, then I'm sure she wouldn't mind if you cut her off."

Oh...she minds! Sometimes she's bored or needs a favor, so it's useful to have a dutiful daughter around. Plus, it looks a leeetle suspicious when BOTH of her children are running away from her, doesn't it?! As long as I'm still talking to her, she can maintain the fiction that my brother is mentally ill. But what are the chances of BOTH of her (very different, 11-years-apart) children being crazy and hateful? So, I think she prefers that I stick around and behave myself. But that preference doesn't stop her from losing her temper and "blowing up" at me!

"...place precedence on your own opinion by letting yourself believe that it REALLY IS THAT BAD!!"
Thank you; it really helps to read this blog and everyone's comments. There are so many things that I took for granted over the years; I knew my mother's behavior made me feel angry, but I believed maybe she was right that I was "too sensitive" and "misinterpreting what she said" and all the other usual phrases. She was so sure of herself.

It amazes me that so many other people have had similar experiences to mine...and heartening to realize that other people also feel that these experiences are wrong and unreasonable. It's not just me being oversensitive or misunderstanding or hearing things. Even little things, like in the above post, where it's a sin to rest and relax. My mother would always get mad if we wanted to relax on vacation (instead of sightseeing every minute), and I can't count how many times she's scowled and exploded at my stepfather, "Get off your dead ass and help me!" when he was trying to watch a football game and she wanted him to vacuum or move a bench. (I have a hard time relaxing; my muscles are always slightly tensed, ready to jump up and do something useful if and when that scowl appears!)

I've always thought that "that's just how she is." Sure, it bothered me, but it's eye-opening to read posts like Anna's and realize that other people see things like this as a legitimate problem, not just a personality quirk that I need to put up with. Sometimes I look at my husband's tolerant, accepting family, and realize that they would never behave like my parents do. But I've had it pounded in my head for so long that this behavior is "normal" and that I'm "wrong," that I find myself making excuses for them and telling myself, "it's not that bad; look, no one else is complaining!" It helps to hear other people say, Yes, these things ARE bad and shouldn't be tolerated. I've been lied to and manipulated for so long that I'm often confused as to what constitutes an "unforgivable" action, and therefore wonder when I'm justified in walking away.

Okay...I won't go on any more! Thanks for letting me talk, and for all your kind words.

kroseloree said...

I thank you for your kind words of encouragement and validation regarding what I said about 'not being a success story'. It IS difficult to believe in myself in a general way, being fairly new to the effects of Narcissism. I truly believe that just knowing I am NOT one is a good place to start.

Another thing I notice when reading what all of you share, is that I had no idea how BAD it really was....how BAD she really was/is. She was so much a part of my behaviours and thinking patterns, I can barely sort out who I am and who SHE is....I mean, I KNOW what I believe, I know how I have chosen to live, think, be, believe...but it is like SHE is metastasized to all that God gave me that is good. Ugh. Like I have to 'kill' some 'good tissue and organs' to get her out of my system. Though I have had no contact with her for the last 2 months, I keep waiting for 'the other shoe to drop'. Still 'hypervigilant', anxious, etc. I assume that this will lessen as time goes on.

Again....I thank you all for your courage and willingness to share your lives. It gives me hope in a bond of shared integrity.

Anonymous said...

Hi All,

Regarding the fact that most people won't believe you if you tell them about your N: most people do not give a rat's ass. Most people feel totally overwelmed by their own problems, small and big.

But once such a non-believer is subjected to the obnoxious behaviour (that they did not believe when tou told them and they still had nothing to do with it) then the either have the balls to acknowledge it to you or just leave the scene.

My point: people care most about themselves. So if somebody rains on THEIR parade they are flaming angry. But if you just and merely tell them about how somebody rained on just and merely your parade, then it is a totally different ballgame.

And when you tell somebody about the really, really horrible things (like not giving the proper medical attention!!) that the N did, then you torn apart most people's "happy universe bubble" and who wants that?

The best best thing you can ever do, is to go NO CONTACT, to regain a sense of who you really are, beneath all the crap that the N dunped on you. And then, when you are feeling more and more composed and yourself, then you will also be beter at identifying people who care about you and the story you have to tell. People who do not believe in fairy tales etc., who do know the world and all the sorts of people who inhabited it, who care enough about you to allow you to be the particular you that your are now.

As you might understand, I have gone no contact (N mother). It has been now for almost a year. And I am ok and getter better and better. People do not want to hear about what I have had to endure, so I keep my mouth shut. Frankly, I don't feel the urge anymore to discuss it with people. I do see how messed up on certain levels I have become, and that is sad. But I also see how strong I am and have always been. So my advice: no contact.

Anonymous said...

Great post! Your words evoked scenes from my childhood...When I was 12 I fell down and broke my wrist. I was crying in agony in the car on the way to the hospital. My mother's only consoling words were this: "God punished you for not obeying your me." Apparently, on this nice summer evening, I went outside to play, even though my mother said I couldn't go out because she and my father wanted to go to a BBQ at a neighbor's house. So instead of getting a babysitter, she said we couldn't play. I went out to play anyway and broke my wrist. According to my mother this was just punishment for being disobedient. N I C E.

ellyb said...

It's a little bit odd to comment on a blog entry which is almost three years old, but it just sounds so familar. My mother had the same fad about me always having to wear a coat, a hat, a hood and whatever. Whenever I caught a cold, it was my fault, of course. She suspected me of having done something "wrong", no matter whether that was true or not. And of course, my sickness was a nuisance to her. On the other hand, she could get very angry when I didn't pity her enough for her migraine.

My schoolmates bullied me badly for many reasons (that, by the way, went on for almost 10 years). One of those reasons was my insistence on always wearing coats, hoods or hats. Of course, I wasn't allowed to mention that my mother insisted on that, because that would have made her look bad. She said: "You want all that yourself, so say it, and don't blame me. It's always the poor mothers who get all the blame".

She also said that I would never, ever in my life be able to make friends (and the bullying, of course, was ample proof for that according to her). I was wondering whether there was something wrong with my brain, autism or something. I think I need to face the fact that she is - as you say - evil.

Tundra Woman said...

Since this post and comments have told the story of my "Medical History" there's nothing I can add regarding this topic. However, I'd like to add a bit of info to the commenters who are themselves being rather suddenly "gifted" or whose children-the grandchildren-are being "gifted" by MN "parents." In the US it would be wise to consult the Tax Code: As of 2012, you can "gift" EACH of your children and/or grandchildren with about $13,000 per year as a COMPLETE TAX WRITE OFF. The gift can take any form: Money, stocks, bonds, elaborate vacations, elaborate or not so elaborate shopping sprees to Wally-world or Designer Boutiques, airline tickets-you name it.
They're not simply "purchasing" the strings-always-attached "gifts" for your children or you: They're still using you and/or your kids as a tax write off. Don't let their munificence fool you. It's "Two-Fer:" You'll "owe" forever and they're laughing all the way to their Broker and Tax Advisor.
Just thought you should be aware, once again that NOTHING they do is without an Agenda: Overt and Covert.
Tundra Woman

Amy said...

Dear Anna,
once more my situation was the reverse of yours. My N mother is not malignant, she is the type of the "altruistic narcissist".
Whenever I got sick when I was small, she would fuss about me like there was nothing else in the world. The least trouble (having to get glasses, having a slight scoliosis) and she would behave like I was disabled for life.
I grew up believing that my body was a total wreck and additionally ugly (which also came from the fact that she and I are totally different types and she was always seen as a great beauty). I was about 25 when I realized that I am actually rather good-looking, and 28 when I got it that though my body has a few weak spots - as is the case with everybody - I have never suffered from any major complaint. It was merely she, making a fuss about the smallest cough so she could concentrate on me instead of having to think about all the s*** in her own head; and so I would become dependent on her and she would be sure I would always run to her crying whenever I had grazed my knee.
My father once told her that she was raising me to be a puppet who wouldn't be capable to go on in life by herself. How right he was. I learned to be independent only after I had moved out at age 24. And oh God, what a relief that was.
Ns sure know how to use your physical condition - either by neglecting or by exaggerating your needs - as long as they can get mileage from it.

Maggie Moreau said...

I was thinking about an unusual syndrome called Munchhausen by Proxy. It's a disorder where a "caregiver" gets their victim sick, or fabricates illnesses in their victim, in order to get attention. I wouldn't be surprised if some NMoms used this tactic, because if you are adept at draining attention from people, a sick child is a veritable gold mine.

There's a (very upsetting) case where a woman named Lacey Spears kept a blog documenting her son's illness... That she caused by giving him salt overdoses.